Sunday, December 6, 2015

Job Descriptions ~ How to Write One & Why it is Important to Do it Right! Part 1

Small Business Hiring & Job Descriptions


Writing an effective and detailed job description is important.  It not only helps you hire the best person for the job, it also protects your company legally.  



The right job description ensures that both your applicants and your existing employees understand what is expected of them.  It will also help you, as a manager, to determine whether your employees are meeting the job’s expectations.



In addition, Your Job Description Will:


  • Outline the Duties and Expectations of the Position
  • Determine Your Job Training Goals
  • Help You Evaluate Your Employee’s Performance




A well-written job description will also help protect your company from employment related lawsuits.  Omitting any wording in your job description that can be considered discriminatory is key.  Being vigilant here can ensure that you are not in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or any employment laws.



While, as an employer, you may put off the task of creating job descriptions until you are ready to hire, this is not the way to go. Instead, doing what you can now to get them in place makes sense.  It will give you the time you need to be both thorough and careful.



The Perfect Job Description will Help You Hire Right  “Tweet This”!



Small Business Hiring Tools



Following these steps will help you do it right!



Step 1 ~ List the Job Duties of Your Open Position

You need to know exactly what your employee will be expected to do and what role they will play in your company. This should include all daily responsibilities or duties your employees will be expected to perform.  

It is best to brainstorm here and list anything you can think of that would pertain to this job.  You can always streamline later if needed.

You also need to decide where the job ranks in your company hierarchy.  Is it at a manager level?  Will they have employees report to them and who will they report to?

All this will help you know exactly what this job entails and where it fits in your company.    




Step 2 ~ Determine the Skill Set for the Job

Of course your ultimate goal when hiring is to find the right person for the job.  Therefore, it is crucial to decide what skills, knowledge, and experience are needed.

You should choose what requirements must be met in order for the applicant to do the job.  These will be considered “essential functions” to the position.

There are ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regulations that should be considered during this step.  According to the ADA, “essential functions” are those that are fundamental to the job.

To be “essential” in the eyes of the ADA  ~ 

You must judge the function as essential
Your Job Descriptions must include the function as essential 
The function must require a significant amount of time to perform
There must be consequences if the function is not performed
Past / Present experience with the position shows the function to be essential

Being very clear here will help you know exactly what skills you need and avoid claims of discrimination when hiring (find out more about this in Part 2 of this series!).




Step 3 ~ Fit the Job Qualifications to the Skill Set Needed

Once you understand the skill set you need, you will be able to determine the qualifications needed for the job.  Be sure that you list everything that the applicant needs in order to fill the role.

These should be anything that is necessary for the applicant to be qualified for the job. They may include necessary degrees and certifications and necessary physical requirements.

Even more specifically, you need to include things like whether they are required to know a specific software program or have a certain level of experience.       

Referring back to the job duties and  “essential functions” of the job will definitely help here.

You should also consider what personality traits would be desired in anyone applying of for the job.  While phrases like “detail-oriented” and “self-starter” may seem overused, including them in your list of job qualifications will help when you are ready to write your job description.  They will also be useful when advertising for your opening.



Job Descriptions & Small Business Hiring!



Step 4 ~ Determine What You Will Pay

Don’t forget to include what you are ready to pay your new hire. Decide whether the position is to be hourly or salary, if overtime is involved, and if bonuses or commissions are part of the pay package..  Determine both what you can afford to pay and what the job duties warrant.

Associating the right salary with the job will also help you attract the best candidates!




Step 5 ~ Write Your Job Description

Being thorough in the preceding steps will be invaluable when it comes to finally writing your job description.  You will not only be sure to not leave anything important out, but you will also know exactly the type of candidate that would make your ideal hire. 

Your first goal in writing your job description is to be as clear and concise as possible.  Job seekers should know exactly what you are looking for and how they will fit in. 

Making the description specific and easy to read is key.  Be completely accurate in describing what qualifications are needed to do the job.  You should also include all the responsibilities they would be expected to perform.  Referring back to the skill set and qualification lists you made will make this much easier. 

Be sure to share your company’s “vibe” in your job description as much as possible.  Using words that convey your company culture will help you attract the best candidates for you.

If yours is a more “relaxed” environment, you can use words like “flexible”, “informal”, and “casual”.  If it is quick paced and energetic, you can include words like “dynamic” and “high-powered”.

Don’t be vague.  In order to get the right candidates, you need to be very clear.  Make it easy for them to picture whether or not they can fit the role.



Following these steps will help you write the Best Job Description for You.  In Part 2 of this series, I will explain Why that Job Description is so Important to Your Small Business!



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